It was good week, with great weather (except for one weird day). I hung out at some lakes and a creek, went to a block party and a baseball game, drove up north for a wedding– pretty much what summer’s all about.
Week #27 of my photo-a-day project takes us through that peak week of summer, when most of us take a time out, maybe cook some kind of animal on the grill, and find ourselves seeking shade and bodies of water.
It’s the time of year that makes me think of my favorite Frank Sinatra song. So sit back, open a window, close your eyes, feel the breeze, and have a listen.
“Like painted kites, those days and nights, they went flyin’ by” . . .
And now, a photo from each day of the week.
Question: If a train leaves a station traveling 50 mph 2 hours before two trains traveling 24 mph and 37 mph on the same track, how many weeks will it take Steve to catch up to the current week of his photo-a-day project.
Answer: Not sure, but what difference does it make until he gets there?
Here are the 7 photos from Week #19 of 2017.
I think I can. I think I can . . .
(Note: To see my first “great bike rides” post from about a year ago, go here)
I used to think “The Grand Rounds” was a rather pretentious name added in modern times to the more than 125-year old string of parkways that wind through the city of Minneapolis. But I recently learned that the term dates back to 1891, when William Watts Folwell used it to describe landscape architect Horace Cleveland’s masterful proposal made to the newly-formed Minneapolis Board of Park Commissioners 8 years earlier. Now that I know the name is that old, I like it.Minneapolis has one of the best urban park systems in the world. We would have none of it today but for the vision, forethought, and actions of an amazing string of parks commissioners (along with Cleveland’s detailed plans) in the late 19th and early 20th century, including Charles Loring, William Berry and Theodore Wirth.
I’ve biked most of this route many times, but never as a whole. So a couple of days ago, I decided it was time to grab my camera and saddle up. I’d seen different numbers for the total mileage — usually 50-53 miles, but I also knew that included some dead-end spurs. I decided to just do the main, basic route and see how it works as a loop.
Cleveland’s idea was to tie together some of the most beautiful parts of the city in such a way that you could make the whole trip without ever leaving a park-like setting. For the most part, it does that very well. The Minneapolis chain of lakes, along with the Mississippi River and Minnehaha Creek, are well-known treasures, but the ride also includes some impressive boulevards in the city’s northern areas. Most of the route is, indeed, “grand”, but there’s a short “missing link” of about 3 miles in the northeastern part of the ride that isn’t terribly scenic. Many plans have been proposed over the years to finish it, but so far it’s still missing. A variety of street options traverse the gap and get you downtown to join up with the river.
Since I live a couple of block from Minnehaha Creek, I bike and run the southern part of the Grand Rounds a lot, but the beauty of the creek and the lakes never gets old. A quick loop around the lakes or a run around Lake Harriet never fails to lift my spirits.
My grand tour the other day ended up totaling about 37 miles. As I said, there are other ways to do it that add more mileage. The route also intersects with a lot of other bike paths on which you could wander all day. It’s a great city for biking.
Here are a bunch of photos from my trip. Along the way, I somehow lost my little notebook that I was writing the mileage in at photo stops (imagine me losing something), so the mile numbers are from “Map My Ride” and are approximate — also, of course, pretty meaningless unless you start at my house. But if you ever do want to start at my house, give me a call and I’ll go with you. It’s a great urban ride.
Minneapolis and St. Paul are some of the best bicycling cities anywhere. We have a LOT of bike trails, dedicated lanes and bike-friendly streets. During these precious few months of non-snow weather, many bikers make the most of it and hit the road.
Serious bikers live in a different world than the rest of us do. We catch glimpses of them on bike paths, streets and highways, but they often ride places that others never see. I’ve been doing more biking this summer than in past years and in doing so, have “discovered” some interesting and beautiful routes that real bikers have been keeping to themselves for years.
Mrs. D and I have been riding parts of this route for a few weeks. I combined these sections into a 26 mile loop last week and took a few photos along the way. These photos were obviously shot on two separate days — one cloudy and one sunny.
So here goes — a 26 mile photojourney. All distances are measured from my house, which will do you absolutely no good unless you ride with me.
So saddle up. Let’s ride.
First stop at mile 2.6 is Lake Nokomis. We see a deer. We get off our bikes and approach it quietly. It doesn’t run away. In fact it doesn’t move at all.
Then it’s across E. 54th St. all the way to Minnehaha Park. Here we enter Fort Snelling State Park. At mile 6.3 we are in the upper area where the old fort is. Down below is a wonderful natural area near the river. This fort is the first major settlement of non-native people in Minnesota. It was never actually used for defense purposes, but as an outpost to regulate the fur trade in the mid- 19th century.
After a short section through the woods, the bike path leads to the Mendota bridge. The 3/4 mile bridge bike path is an interesting dichotomy of loud, rushing traffic on one side and a beautiful, serene vistas of the river valley on the other.
The Mendota Bridge is the only place I know of where you can see the skylines of both downtowns — Minneapolis and St. Paul — at the same time.
After we cross the bridge we go through the old town of Mendota, one of the oldest settlements in Minnesota. Here we pick up a great bike trail that runs next to the railroad tracks near the river.
At mile 8.7 we get a view of the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. This little sand point is sacred ground to the Dakota people, who believe it to be the center of the world and the place where they originated from.
At about the 10 mile mark we enter the Lilydale Regional Park. We get glimpses of the river and some large areas of native prairie grasses, but the coolest thing about this part of the path is the sections that go through some densely wooded areas.
At 12.8 miles we emerge from the wilderness at Harriet Island, just across the river from Downtown St. Paul. The Jonathan Padelford is the flagship of the Padleford Packet Boat Company, which owns several river boats used for various types of excursions up and down the river.
At 13.7 miles, the very patriotic Wabasha Bridge welcomes us to downtown St. Paul.
Rice Park is just a block over and worth a look. It’s a beautiful little urban park surrounded by several interesting buildings.
At 15.1 we go up the hill by the St. Paul Cathedral and on to Summit Avenue. First stop is the home of railroad tycoon James J. Hill. It’s pretty impressive.
We pass many big, beautiful, old mansions on Summit Avenue. Governor Tim lives in one of them, at mile 17. As I’m considering whether to go up and ring the bell to see if he wants to come out and ride, a black car with tinted windows pulls out of the driveway. Maybe Timmy’s in the backseat, I don’t know. What a thrill to be a paparazzo.
After a couple more miles straight down Summit Avenue, past Macalester College and the University of St. Thomas, we reach the river again at mile 19.6. Another 2-mile stretch down E. River road brings us to the Ford Parkway bridge. At mile 21.5 we stop for one last photo of the river and then re-enter Minneapolis.
We go past Minnehaha Falls (more about that in a future post) and head home on Minnehaha Parkway. A steep hill toward the end helps us make sure we got a workout.
Home again at 26.1 miles. Thanks for coming along. I know this was a long post. Reading all the way to the end was more grueling than the bike ride. Congratulations.
I’ve always thought of the month of May as sort of the Friday night of the year. Everything seems possible. Eventually the reality of the Sunday evening of winter sets in, but right now I’m enjoying the hope and possibility that May brings.
Since I’ve signed up to run the Twin Cities Marathon in October with my daughters Emily and Lauren, I’ve decided that I should probably do a little more running than my “when-I-get-a-chance” 3 or 4 miles pattern that I’ve fallen into over the past few years. So I’m back to my “track” — Minnehaha Parkway and Lake Harriet. I was thinking as I ran around the lake for the thousand-and-something time today that there’s no excuse — none — for not getting my butt out there most days and doing it. It’s such a beautiful route that I’m still awed by it when I take the time to notice.
After my run today, I went back and did it again on my bike and took my camera along. Here are a few photos I shot.
Thank you, Emily and Lauren for motivating me to get back to doing one of the things I love — and appreciating being able to do it. Hope to see you at Lake Harriet (and many other places along the marathon route) on October 3rd! I’ll be the happy-looking older man running — for as long as I can keep up — with two amazing young women.
In beauty may I walk.
All day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons may I walk.
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.
With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk.
With dew about my feet may I walk.
With beauty may I walk.
With beauty before me, may I walk.
With beauty behind me, may I walk.
With beauty above me, may I walk.
With beauty below me, may I walk.
With beauty all around me, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty
– NAVAJO PRAYER